For release Sunday, March 17 () -

For release Sunday, March 17 ()

c.2013 New York Times News Service

Board members of the Council of Fashion Designers of America met Wednesday to decide the honorees and nominees for their annual fashion awards, and this year came up with an unusually competitive lot. Often, fashion people can easily pick the winners based on who is most popular at the moment, but that might not be the case with this group, especially in the categories for younger designers.

Winning one of those awards, sponsored by Swarovski for the past 12 years, can give a designer a real boost in business. The nominees for women's wear this year are all designers who work in teams: Shane Gabier and Christopher Peters of the label Creatures of the Wind, Carly Cushnie and Michelle Ochs from Cushnie et Ochs, and Erin Beatty and Max Osterweis from Suno. It's like fashion's version of "The Amazing Race."

''Last year was easy for us," said Gabier, whose collection was also nominated in 2012, along with the Suno designers and Joseph Altuzarra. That's because everyone assumed Altuzarra would win (and he did), so there was less stress on the nominees. "This feels more competitive," Gabier said.

For accessories, the nominees are Irene Neuwirth, Jennifer Meyer and Pamela Love. For men's wear, they are Dao-Yi Chow and Maxwell Osborne of Public School, Tim Coppens and Todd Snyder.

For the prime-time designer of the year awards, the nominees for women's wear are Alexander Wang, Marc Jacobs and Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez of Proenza Schouler, again a tough race. For men's wear, they are Steven Cox and Daniel Silver of Duckie Brown, Michael Bastian and Thom Browne. And for accessories, the nominees are Phillip Lim, Wang and Proenza Schouler.

Plenty of heavy hitters will be in attendance at the ceremony on June 3 for the honorary awards. Vera Wang will be given a lifetime achievement award; Tim Blanks of Style.com will receive the award for journalism; Oscar de la Renta was named the winner of the Founders Award; and Colleen Atwood will be given a tribute award for costume design. The council will also recognize one non-American designer with its international award, given this year to Riccardo Tisci of Givenchy.